Re: November/December 2011
“Can Bogalusa Save the World?”
by Richard Meek
I was dismayed to read in the opening lines of an otherwise positive article on Bogalusa and Dr. Berenson’s heart study program a reference to an apparent rumor, stated as fact. The author, Richard Meek, asserts that following Hurricane Katrina I made what he calls a “now-famous comment” that Bogalusa was located in Mississippi. For something so famous, I’m surprised this is the first time I have heard or read it. Especially since I never said it.
I am astounded at this assertion because of my many personal visits to Bogalusa and Washington Parish, particularly as both lieutenant governor and governor, long before as well as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I personally toured Bogalusa in the immediate aftermath of Katrina with local officials and saw endless numbers of wind-damaged homes destroyed by trees. Precisely because of what I witnessed on this visit, I decided to fight for enough money from Washington, D.C., to make wind-damaged homes eligible for Louisiana Road Home program funding at a time when the White House and Congress were insisting only flood-damaged homes should be included. Today thousands of families who suffered wind damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita were made whole and are back in their homes because that fight was successful.
There are many untruths and myths from the Katrina days that still persist, and for the sake of accurate history, I seek to correct or debunk every one. But I am particularly determined to set the record straight on this ill-founded rumor, most importantly for the people of Bogalusa who have shown me such fine hospitality over the past few decades and continue to do the same for many visitors.
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco